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Seth Glier’s 2012 Grammy nomination came as a massive surprise. Born and raised in Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts, the young songwriter was barely out of the gate when his second album The Next Right Thing was nominated in the Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical category. While he did lose to one of the most popular bands in bluegrass, Alison Krauss and Union Station, this nomination only strengthened the resolve of Glier who eagerly returns with the pop-friendly “Things I Should Let You Know.” With a catchier, poppier sound and a stronger grasp on his craft, Glier seems to have his hopes set on breaking into the mainstream.
Starting with the album’s soft and short title track, Glier immediately jumps into a poppy and upbeat sound with “Man I Used To Be” which is reminiscent of a mainstream pop-ballad from the early aughts, replete with verses that slowly build into massive choruses, with a touch of auto-tune. “New World I See” explodes with the sounds of a New Orleans Brass band, joyously reaching towards the sky; it wouldn’t sound out of place wafting across the air of a summer music festival. These two tracks are the first tastes we get of Glier’s bigger sound that he is working towards on “Things I Should Let You Know.”
The rest of “Things I Should Let You Know” follows more modern mainstream trends of the past few years, especially with its leanings towards folk pop. “Down To The Wire” beings with a stuttering piano that quickly leads into an uplifting chorus while “Avery” is a very breezy, AM radio friendly tune. “Too Hard To Hold The Moon” and “The Stars and The Glitter” are two yearning, piano driven ballads that really showcases his vocal range. Throughout the album, Glier proves that he can write tunes that easily match the majority of the top 40.
Unfortunately, “Things I Should Let You Know” lacks variety and a strong sense of identity. Glier is reaching for the mainstream and, while it wouldn’t be surprising if he succeeded, it would be off the back of a strong single, rather than a strong album. His reliance on the tried and true method of alternating between upbeat piano pop and soft, piano balladry results in a very repetitive album. While this album is reminiscent of the times when strong singles were more important than cohesive albums, Glier shows a great deal of potential. In particular, “New World I See” is a big leap in the right direction. As previously mentioned, the brass heavy song does a great job of balancing his mainstream pop sensibilities with a more rural and earthy sound, made even more so exciting because we hear Glier push his vocals into a more raw and electrifying range.
It’d be hard for even the stoniest heart to really dislike this album, as Glier sounds so earnest and true. That may turn off some people, but Glier has a big heart and sounds like he really enjoys what he does. More power to him, but hopefully he takes the time to fully find his own voice and sound on his next album.